Friday, February 23, 2007

…. and where there’s a highway, what’s a little bloodshed here and there, eh?

Twas a dark and stormy night. Okay, not really stormy. One half of the National Highway 4 was barricaded for repairs. No warning boards. An area of darkness. You hear yourself crash much before you manage to see anything blocking the road.

At 75 kilometres an hour, the only sound you hear is of the metal slamming into asphalt. Of mud and gravel ripping through your clothing, of sand tearing into your skin and fusing into a mishmash of blood and flesh and earth and mud and pebbles, as you’re dragged along by the collapsing steed. That’s a lot of sounds, eh?

Poop. It doesn’t feel all that dreadful as you’re conditioned to believe – my knee and heel and everything in between all have a sharp tang emanating from them - but it’s more like irritation than agony. My perception is much heightened; I can sense more acutely the minutest sensation in my lacerated arms and legs – it’s a combination of a gazillion crawls, each different from the other. The ankle feels wet from blood trickling down it – it’s a bit of a change from the dry dirt that’s been stirred and mashed into my flesh these last few seconds; it also reminds me rather abruptly that my throat is parched.

I turn the key, and sit down on the road. I decide the nonchalant dude act is in order – nonchalant dude picks up bike, drives home, washes wounds, and doesn’t think about it afterwards. Aaaah, it’s a *little* tough bending my knee. Or for that matter lifting the bike. Or walking. Pfoo – I drag self from underneath bike, wobble towards the streetlight, recline on the divider, and stretch legs.

For the first time, I see my arms and legs. Aaaaaargh! How the hell am I going to clean all that up? There’s mud a mile deep into my flesh, all along the enormous openings in my skin, there’s red everywhere, lightened occasionally wherever the earth has pitched in, and garnished where the pebbles have volunteered. Aaaah – someone’s going to have to rub the wound a million times to get all that mud out of it.

I decide I’ll not think about it. On an impulse shut my eyes to try and do nothing but feel, sense as fully, as completely as I can the itch, the burn, the bristle in my arms and feet. Aaaah.

Gentle reader, you’re perhaps wondering if I haven’t heard of hospitals or doctors that I had decided to sit down in the midst of highways and bleed on to glory. I must point to the fact that it was a half past eleven, and so the only alternative to being nonchalant dude was to wait for reinforcements.

In due time, a solitary auto showed up. Chap picked up the helmet that had flown off my head on impact, the cell which had decided to do a triple jump from my pocket, and of course, parked the bike, which had dragged me along after having completed the formality of getting its face smashed in.

“Nah, don’t hold me, I’ll walk inside”, saith I once we reach the hosp. Aaah dammit, I haven’t the strength to speak – my vocal chords are stretched, and yet hardly a whisper emanates. Three staggering steps, as the auto guy apprehensively looked on, before he rushed to hold me. “Get a goddamn wheelchair”, I could’ve been screaming, but every word could only struggle out of my lips.

Aaaah man, I plopped into the wheelchair, it hit me as to how completely physically deflated I was. A while ago, it was almost as if no amount of bloodletting would do anything to me, and now, ah, I was so devoid of energy, or for that matter the will or the life to be able to do anything - the only resolve I seemed capable of making was to determine to do nothing, and let people take care.

Got hauled into a ward, it took a while to get all the mud cleaned – it was a strange sensation finally seeing the expanse of blood and flesh all by themselves; free of all the earth that I thought would never get away from it.

Pah – still cant speak- water please! No avail, I’m talking in hoarse whispers. Could I at least write my name? My right wrist isn’t going to jump at the idea, thank you very much. The doc let it pass.

‘Trauma’, wrote the doc, in large friendly letters. Gaah, trauma it seems – I contemplated a protest at being described thus, before surrendering to the superior, yet sweet forces of sheer fatigue that quietly embraced me.

**

Tis Immutable law time again!

One: The day you desist from wearing your jacket and shoes is the day you crash.

Two: Your insurance policy always expires two days before you crash.

Three: Time wounds all heels.

**

One does, however, look at the brighter side, which in this case was that one was compelled one to pick four wheels instead of two, which, you will admit, has its merits.

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Light at the end of the tunnel?